Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Wedding Thoughts

Gelin (neighbour) and Martin
We have attended 6 weddings in the last 6 months! Each one has been distinct, each one reflecting the individuals getting married.  Each beautiful in their own right.

I am amazed at how very different each wedding turns out to be.  Yet there are certain things that remain the same, regardless of who is getting married.  In each wedding the couple vows to love, honour, respect, cherish one another..."till death do us part".

When one actually reads the traditional wedding vows, I mean carefully reads them, the couple is promising an awful lot!  Not only a lot, but things that are almost impossible to fulfill.  Yet, through the centuries, couples repeat them, and try to honor them.

Jose Angel and Lili (neighbour girl from Chihuahua)
Thinking back on these last 6 weddings, I look at all the details that were so important to the bride  (let's be honest, for the most part, the guy is less concerned about those details that the bride stresses about!).  Now, while all those details make the event glorious and beautiful, they do add little to the actual marriage.  One is no less married if one goes before a Justice of the Peace and signs the papers, then if they do the whole church, reception thing.

But alas the wedding is but a day.  Then comes the work of honouring those vows that one made.  This is another test completely.  I told my sons that they needed to put more effort into the actual marriage than the wedding day.  I have told my married kids that if they ever thought they needed help I would pay for counselling.  Why? Not because I think that they won't make it but because I believe one must work at one's marriage and put in 100%.  I also know that we are human and selfish, that the glow of that lovely wedding day dims, and too many choose to call it quits.
Jessy & Peter (friends)
While I enjoyed all 6 weddings, and was excited to be a part of their day...I know that many don't make it for the long haul.  I have also just recently seen the end of several marriages.  People saying things like "I just couldn't do it anymore" or "I deserve to be happy and I am not in this marriage" or "he/she was unfaithful and I can't put up with that" etc, etc.  I have watched the end of a commitment and how that affects the couple, not to mention how it affects the kids.
Gaby & Mariano (neighbour boy)
I remember my own wedding and all the illusions about our future. On October 29 we are celebrating 28 years! But, I also remember going into marriage counselling to get some help.  We have good days and we have bad days.  Some times I don't like my husband, some days I don't like myself! But one thing we both have agreed on is that we will keep at it, we are committed for the long haul.  We also want to support those who are struggling.
Brittany (niece) and Jason 
Right now Ernie and I are taking a course to get certified to help couples in their marriages.  A side benefit is that we will strengthened our own marriage through the process.
Whitney & Ryan (friend)
Pray for marriages, your own and those around you.  Take time to look at those vows you made and then take another look at how you can fulfill them each and every day!

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Chihuahua

Right to Left: Claudia married to Juan Carlos and their 3 kids,
Us in the center
Victor and Claudia and their 2 boys

This blog is called "3rd Tour" because we are on our third assignment with EMC.  The people above are from Chihuahua, where we did our '2nd Tour'.  We often refer to our 2 tour as being kind of utopian.  The reason for this is because it was a wonderful time for us as a family.  We left Chihuahua in 2000, so, if you do the math, the above people were not church leaders back then! 



It was such a blessing to share breakfast with some of the people from our days in Chihuahua, and then head to church, where we got some surprises.  First we enjoyed a rich time of praise and worship, led by Victor and Claudia. Great to hear God's people worship in song (Something we often miss here in GDL).  Then, Juan Carlos and Claudia were in Chihuahua and he preached the morning message.

What an wonderful morning with some wonderful people. God is good.
Claudia leading the service

Victor on guitar

Juan Carlos preaching the word of God





















The best part of the whole thing is watching national leaders doing the work God has called them to.  To see them doing it so well.  I was blessed by their ministry that Sunday morning.  The wonderful singing, with gifted musicians, great voices, and the ability to lead their people in worship.  To hear the Word of God preached so well.  To see their love for God and their desire to grow and see the work grow.  

I remember Claudia as a young girl, and to see her now, a wonderful young woman, wife, mother, leader in the church, and a business women as well, warms my heart.  We may not have led these young people to the Lord, or even had them under our leadership, but to have been a part of this work, is a blessing beyond compare.  We did work together with Claudia's sister, Rebecca, and her brother-in-law, Aldo, both of whom God has called home.  We mentored them and they mentored Victor and Claudia.  Reproducing fruit.

Oh that God would have found me faithful in the past, find me faithful in the present, and also in the future.  One never knows who's life they are impacting or who's life that person's life will later impact.  Like it says in I Corinthians 3:6-7, some water, some plant, but it is God who makes things grow.  
Pray for Victor and Claudia as they lead the church
We were also able to meet up with Walter Renpening, who is the pastor of the church in Cuathemoc.  We had a wonderful time over lunch, reconnecting and hearing about what God is doing in their church and their lives.  It was such a blessing to see Walter and his new wife Susie's enthusiasm for the ministry in Cuathemoc.  Walter was a wonderful friend who worked alongside Alvira Friesen and then tragically lost his wife.  God is using him in his work there and you can see the joy in his eyes.
Walter and Susie
We did work with him over the years (while living in Chihuahua) but I often wondered who was on the receiving end.  We were always blessed working with him and the Cuahtemoc church and I trust we blessed him and his family.  Those were good years of mutual encouragement as we sought to be faithful to God's calling on our lives.  

We also made a surprise visit to the school in Blumenau, where we were able to connect with several friends from years gone by.  This was such a blessed time for me. 

Below are pictures of people from what feels like another life.  Way back when, Mike was maybe 2 years old, so 23 years ago, we were invited to go to Chihuahua to youth camp.  Ernie was to speak at their annual youth conference.  The Bojorges sisters were my first friends in Chihuahua.  To see these ladies,  (pictured are 2 of the 4) still loving Jesus, working and serving Him, leaves me in awe of God's faithfulness.  The hugs were many, long, and tight!
Edna, me and Sonya 
Us with Sonya and her husband Abram
God has been faithful, both in my own personal life, and in the life of many friends.  He has been faithful to His church and His people.  We were so richly blessed to see some of the fruit of our labours.  Seeds planted, seeds watered and the reproducing of a marvellous harvest. God is so Good.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Choque


So what do you think Ernie is doing in this picture?  Any idea what MAPFRE is? Well, it's not a good, or enjoyable, time.

MAPFRE is our insurance - like Autopac.  So you know where I am headed? Yep, we had our first accident here in Mexico.

On the positive side, no one was injured.  Damages were minimal, for all three vehicles involved.  Everybody involved had insurance.  That's like a hat trick of miracles right there!

I have been involved in accidents in Manitoba and would say that I kind of take some things for granted.  Mostly, that everybody in insured - no the case here by far.  That Autopac takes care of things, quickly and simply.  Trust me, they really do, by comparison.  That if the police are involved it is beneficial.  Also not necessarily the case here.  Well, let's just say that one doesn't have to worry about who has paid off whom, or how things will get painted completely differently than they occurred.  But mostly, I take for granted the time frame in which things can get handled.
The only damage to our car
We were fortunate today in that the whole event took just over an hour!  No small miracle (both of our co-workers here were involved in incidents when we were along, taking hours to settle things - I mean hours!).  But, how we viewed the thing, and how it ended, were complete opposites.  Factor in he said/she said?  Well, let's just say, as a foreigner, you will not be on the winning end of things.

This is the damage to the vehicle that hit us - a truck.  She hit us on one side and then hit a parked truck on the other side. Minor damage to both sides.  That the truck she hit was parked illegally seemed irrelevant!



So, a small little fender bender ended up involving the 3 vehicles that were hit, and the three vehicles that arrived with the insurance people - one per vehicle involved.  

This was an inconvenience to our day, BUT, no one was hurt, it would have been nice to avoid, but it could have ended much worse. Considering driving patterns in a mega city like this one, I guess we're pretty thankful that we were almost 3 yrs accident free. Now let's see how long it will take for the repair shop to fix the vehicle.... :-) 


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Islands

 What do you notice in these collages? Anything? Because there is something about them I want you to notice.

Now, obviously I chose specific photos to make my point.  Guess anyone?

In every photo there are multiple people, no one is alone.  There are no 'selfish' which are so common today.

So what is my point? We are made and designed for community.  We were not made to be alone.  As a matter of fact God said, "It is not good for man to be alone." Genesis 1:18

We, in the Western world, seem to have made an idol out of  "I" and it is to our detriment.  I see
posts on Facebook of people crying out for friendship.  I hear loneliness in the written words.  We long for relationships that are deep and intimate.  We are searching for connection.  Yet we can't seem to let go of the 'me-ism' of our culture.

Facebook has granted us the feeling of community by allowing us to 'friend' people whom we would never talk to in person, or complete strangers.  It grants us the sense of belonging.

We so long for interaction that we post anything, in hopes of getting 'likes' and comments, to make us feel a part of something.

Yet what we really desire is real people with real interaction.  This deep longing will never go away, because we were designed by a God who wove into each and everyone of us an intrinsic need for community.  He longs for that with us as well.

"We can only fully know one another in the context of relational community. No one person can draw out the entire personality of another. In a circle of friends, each persons shines a unique light onto the personality of another. It's not possible to thrive as a freestanding, isolated entity. And when we live isolated lives, not allowing others to rub against our insecurities, fears, and sins, we rob others of the opportunity to get to know us."

Oh that we would be free to be known and get to know others like that! For, it is for relationship that we were made. Remember what Jesus told the people were the greatest two commandments?

I love that Mexicans are a people of community. They love to get together for any and every occasion.  They value family and friends, and those who don't have their own are always invited in. My albums are full of group pictures, with only rare pictures of individuals.  If I want to snap a picture of someone, someone else will jump into the shot!

My suggestion is to close your computer, mute your phone, cross the street, and greet someone.  People are all around you.  Lonely people. Let's thrive. Let's not be islands.